We took an afternoon plane to Da Nang, so it was evening once we were able to venture out and explore. Lit up with streams of colored lanterns, the old city in Hoi An was a picturesque little area; we happily strolled along the water, stumbling upon a restaurant to grab a bite.
The next morning, we woke up and took a bike ride through the countryside, along the Thu Bon River. It rained for most of the day, but was probably more pleasant than if the sun had been beating down on us. As you can imagine, biking in the street is just as, if not more, anxiety-inducing than trying to cross the street on foot. Quick snapshot of our bike ride before we got off the major roads: Dmitriy off doing his own thing, me swerving back and forth, trying look behind me to keep an eye on Dani, Dani mean-mugging – until one particular moment when we needed to make a left hand turn and I was cut off by Dani – my own blood! – and left in the dust. This is one of those moments that will be brought back up at every family reunion for years to come (like the Abercrombie shorts in the ocean – sorry, Kay!).
We arrived at the Cam Thanh Village and met with a local family. They took us out on a traditional basket boat – round in shape, so that one person can row it successfully – through the water coconut palm forest.
After the boat ride, we enjoyed some fresh coconut water before hopping back on our bikes and heading to the Tra Que organic vegetable village. We were able to try our hand at hoeing and watering the plants. See photos below to decide whether or not we were successful:
After some food, we biked back to our hotel and cleaned up before heading back out on a walking tour of the ancient quarter. We wandered through the Tan Ky house – built two centuries ago and maintained by the same family for seven generations. The family has a pulley-system in place for moving furniture in case of floods; there were markings on the walls taller than Dmitriy, recording how high the water has reached due to floods in the past. We also went onto the Japanese Covered Bridge, though it was packed with tourists.
After a bit of wandering, we headed out on another food tour…because you haven’t really visited a place until you’ve eaten yourself into a food coma there, right? We had cao lau, a noodle dish with pork and greens, Vietnamese rice crackers and sweet and sour soup with rice noodles. We went to Banh mi Phuong and had THE BEST banh mi EVER. The only thing I regret is going there at the end of our food tour, because I could only manage half a sandwich.
We ended the evening with some iced Vietnamese coffee at Café Le Fe. I’m actually fairly certain we were featured on a Vietnamese news channel about a French steel drum performance. We’re famous!
As if we hadn’t consumed enough, we stopped for some bubble tea on the way back to the hotel. Our early flight in the morning led to our last stop in Vietnam: Saigon!